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Schachter-Singer theory is PANIC relief and here is why

Why the Schacter-Singer, or in another name, the two-factor theory of emotion, is a PANIC relief at all? If we had scientific evidence to prove that our first intense fear peaked as perhaps a panic attack for the first time in our life, then it would be a great and grateful PANIC relief. The great news is that we do have one. And it’s called the Two-factor theory of emotion or Schachter-Singer theory. And why would a single scientific theory existence be a panic relief? Well, it’s because if our first panic attack is just a panic mistake even though it seemed a real fear (of death), but still it was just like an illusion, then it would be easier to overcome it. I do believe in the truthfulness of it.

What is the two-factor theory of emotion all about (Schacter and Singer theory)?

The Schachter-Singer theory, or in another name, the two-factor theory, an emotion arises when we evaluate arousal cognitively that induced by a stimulus or an event. This idea is confirmed scientifically by the Schachter and Singer two-factor theory of emotion experiment, which has already become classic.

In the late 1960s, cognitive theories of emotion began to emerge. In psychology, one often refers to this era as the “cognitive revolution.” Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer proposed one of the earliest cognitive theories. It is known as the two-factor theory of emotion. And also a piece of scientific evidence that could give you an immediate PANIC relief by understanding it.

The two-factor theory experiment description

There was an experiment where the subjects who took part in the research received an adrenaline injection. Now, an adrenaline injection causes so-called vegetative arousal that comes with a few symptoms:

  • racing heart rate,
  • increased respiratory rate,
  • muscle tremors,
  • Uplifted state of arousal.

The experiment leaders changed the information on the effect of adrenaline injection on the subjects. They informed half of the people accurately of regards to the consequences of the drug. While the other half of the people directly and misleadingly tell that the drug causes numbness. The leaders introduced a new person who will come in a minute and joins everyone. The person was a built-in man, although presented as being one of them. The integrated man either created a situation of joy by behaving eerily or a case of anger by acting angrily. At the end of the experiment, the subjects needed to report their emotions.

The outcome of the two-factor theory experiment

The informed individuals had an explanation for their excitement, and as a result, they didn’t report any particular emotions at the end of the experiment. The misinformed people, on the other hand, because they had no explanation for the state of excitement of their feelings, they reported anger when the built-in person created a situation of ‘anger’ and joy when the case of ‘joy’ arose.

Thus, in the latter case, the explanation of the experimental person’s emotion the EVALUATION of the situation.

In the next chapter, I’d like to approach the same two-factor theory but from a different approach. I’m about to show you how to get to the same result by experiencing the first panic attack.

About your first panic attack

Let’s say your first panic attack is about one minute away. At this point, I’d like to write a short story to illustrate a typical first panic attack happens. So let’s jump in the “panic in the lift” story.

Panic in the lift

The door fo the lift in front of you opens. Even though you are stepping in the lift cabin and squeezing in somehow, you’re miles away in your head. Somewhat you’re feeling sad today without any particular explanation for that matter. Or rather perhaps in the lift cabin, you suddenly become fearful. It seems your fear elevates in you just as the lift does so. 

At around halfway, you suddenly notice a sense of fall. Didn’t know it’s something wrong with the lift? But no. The elevator is elegantly and smoothly lifting upwards with all the people inside the cabin. And then you realize that the sense of fall happened in you, more accurately in your head. Upon realizing, “Oh my God, what’s happening with me?” Your heart rate is rapidly rising. Within a second or so, the heart palpitation is unbearable. You can’t wait to get the heck out of the freaking lift.

Then the doors open, you’re stepping out first. When your leg touches the floor, your heart rate is high, and you have no idea what happened to you, although the fall that you felt a few seconds ago fades away. But it seems it doesn’t matter because the fear in you has never been so high. You suddenly don’t know what to do. Within a fraction of a second thought strikes in questioning whether you should ask for help right now because you may be experiencing a heart attack. For some reason, you don’t ask for help, but the whole thing makes you feel shaking and gasping for breath.

One day later

One day later, instead of panic relief, you find yourself realizing that your thoughts came back in that lift-situation about two thousand times. You can’t stop thinking about what went wrong in that elevator cabin. But something went wrong there, that’s for sure otherwise you wouldn’t freak out just by thinking about that lift cabin, the tiny space thanks to how crowded it was, and was no air, and that whole day as it was.

One year later, you’re with a friend. And you are telling her that your diagnosis is panic disorder and agoraphobia. When you’re saying that you are experiencing lately almost every week a panic attack, your friend feels such compassion about you as if she was hoping you can report to her a panic relief. A few minutes later, she is asking how it started? You’re telling her that it started one year ago in a lift. Even though you tried hard to avoid elevators wherever possible, unfortunately, it wasn’t always possible. Then the panic attack came. But lately, that freaking panic attack came without the lift or anything.

So this was my “panic in the lift” story, a built-in Schachter-Singer theory of panic relief, that I wrote. I hope you did not like it nor experienced anything like that. But you did so and still with me at the next chapter I want to combine the two in one. In other words, I want to see similar patterns by combining the Schachter and Singer theory and the “panic in the lift” story.

The PANIC relief: Thanks to the Schachter-Singer theory

I want to make this simple here. First, let’s cite the theory’s outcome. “The explanation of the experimental person’s emotion the EVALUATION of the situation.” So both the Schachter-Singer theory’s result and the panic relief idea are all about our EVALUATION of the situation. And thanks to Schachter and Singer’s classic experiment, this is a scientific explanation. 

Now, what is that mean with regards to the “panic in the lift” story? Well, it means that it was purely your decision to react the way you responded to your elevated heart rate at halfway in the lift one year ago. I’d say the rest (including your first panic attack, the second one, the panic disorder diagnosis with agoraphobia, etc.) is all the OUTCOME of that very moment when you reacted that way as you did in the lift.

In other words, a first panic fear is only becoming a panic attack if the evaluation of the situation is personally fearful to you


There you have it, the PANIC relief article, thanks to the Schachter-Singer theory. If you’re wondering what might be the original question that delivers in this article, well, the original one is here too.

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew that your first panic attack was only a so-called mistake? And then I thought: well, the Schachter-Singer theory is genuinely a PANIC relief. I hope now you can see why the two-factor theory of emotion is a relief.

If you’d like to ask my help regarding your PANIC relief, please contact me, and I’m here to help.

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